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Who should bat cleanup for the 2010 Orioles?

Orioles’ pitchers and catchers report to Sarasota, Fla., on Wednesday, which means they just put stuff in their lockers and exchange handshakes with their teammates.

They don’t start throwing until Thursday. The full squad doesn’t work out until Feb. 23 and the first exhibition game isn’t until March 3.

I’ll be down in mid-March and will stay through the Orioles’ first two games of the regular season in April in Tampa.

Meanwhile, my baseball colleague Jeff Zrebiec is in Sarasota now reporting everything Orioles. And our columnist, Pete Schmuck, is there, too, wearing ugly shirts and doing whatever a Schmuck in Florida does.

I’m going to take a few weeks off between next week and mid-March, but the bar may stay open. I have a guest bartender idea. I just need to see how much he’ll cost me.

Meanwhile, I had to write one of our last lead-ins to spring training, an analysis of some of the main questions facing the Orioles this spring.

Lots of bar material there. But one struck me immediately.

In trying to put together what the club’s everyday batting order will look like, I got stuck on cleanup hitter.

At this point, the Orioles don’t have a slam-dunk candidate to bat fourth. Garrett Atkins should be that guy if he can get his power stroke back (he averaged 25 homers and 110 RBIs in 2006-08, but had nine homers and 48 RBIs for the Colorado Rockies in 2009). But there’s no guarantee there.

Luke Scott is the only Oriole who had more than 20 homers in 2009 – he had 25 – but his second half was so rough (.208 average, seven homers, 26 RBIs in 216 at-bats) that he probably won’t get a whole lot of consideration initially for the cleanup spot.

Young guys such as Nolan Reimold, Matt Wieters and Adam Jones may be able to handle it eventually, but it’s a lot of pressure for players with such inexperience. I say don’t toss them into that fire this early, at least not consistently.

Nick Markakis batted fourth in 47 games last season (with an on-base-plus slugging of just .733), but I think he is much better suited for third or second.

So, to me, that leaves Miguel Tejada as the best fit to bat cleanup for this team, at least in April – and especially if Atkins is struggling. Tejada only had 14 homers last season with the Houston Astros and just 13 in 2008.

But he is a proven run producer and has hit cleanup in more than 400 games in his career. He no longer has cleanup pop, but he won’t be fazed by the pressure inherent in the four hole. And he’ll help protect Markakis or Jones, which will be key.

So if I am writing out the Orioles 2010 lineup – at least for April – I’ve got Tejada batting fourth. What says you?

Daily Think Special: Who should bat cleanup for the 2010 Orioles?

Comments

Dan,
Tejada and Scott for 1st 40 games or so based on RH or LH starter. I think the O's will have the same issue the Braves have with McCann hitting 4th behind Chipper. He sits 30-40 games when healthy just due to demands of catching. O's could use Weiters at DH but I think Matt is ultimately the switch-hitting 4-hole hitter with power that will anchor the line-up with Roberts, Jones, and Markakis in front of him.

I tend to agree with you, Connolly. I really like Tejada hitting in the four hole, moving Adam Jones to the two spot. Then, to take pressure off the young guys, the O's can hit Luke Scott five and hit Wieters and Reimold six and seven. Atkins can follow at eighth with Cezar rounding things out in the nine spot.

Nolan Reimold is one ofd the most patient hitters I have seen in a long time. I like him batting fourth.

I don't think of it as strictly a numbers thing. I actually think it's a baseball hierarchy thing, which tends to run along statistical lines. Sometimes. In this case, Tejada should be that player, at least at first. I hope Trembley will run the clubhouse as a meritocracy, which I think baseball players will respect. If you are the RBI guy, you should be able to be involved in the run production somehow everyday. Not every so often. Not only during hot streaks. Everyday. I don't necessarily mean batting in the runs or getting hits, but some kind of factor in the game, one way or another. If Tejada isn't doing the job, after, say, 3 months, Trembley has to make a change. Hopefully by then one of the other young player(s) starts to emerge as the natural choice.

Just like with many young lineups like this, I expect the Spring lineup to look nothing like the midseason one. I hope by July Wieters ends up being the man.

Wieters is the #4 hitter on this team. He's a big boy - put him in coach and bookend him with Markakis and Tejada, followed by Scott. He'll get his pitches to hit.

This is a tough lineup to make. Lots of "ifs". With all due respect to Andrew, you don't bat your best OBP player seventh. Reimold's stats mirrored Eddie Murray's in his first season. But will he be closer to Murray or more like Joe Charboneau? Tejada should bat way down. Who led MLB in grounding into DPs last year? Tejada. He's also #2 active and there are many players who have played more games. He should bat about sixth or seventh.

Tejada is the BEST FIT in the 4th spot. I can't see Luke Scott doing a better job than Miguel. I think he is proven to be more consistent in his production numbers than any of the younger players. I also think he will relish playing 3rd base and have one of his finest offensive seasons ever.

Well, for sure it better not be Jones. From the middle of June on out, he showed absolutely no discipline at the plate.

Overmeboots,

I understand what you're saying about Tejada grounding into a lot of double plays, but he also led the NL in doubles (5th in MLB). I understand Tejada isn't the ideal fit, but he's probably the best the O's have at the beginning of the season. I fully expect Reimold or Wieters to fill the role by the All-Star break.

Unfortunately for the O's, Baltimore's clean up hitter would bat at best in the 8 or 9 hole in Boston or New York. Miguel Tejada is the best fit. Followed by Wieters at 5 and Riemold at 6. Luke Scott would benefit at 7 or, with Garret Atkins taking the vacant slot.

The Orioles are in need of a middle of the lineup bat, but Tejada could offset that need with his ability to drive in runs and get on base. This could be the year that the O's finally get out of the cellar and make a run at 82 wins.

Bingo. Tejada for all the reasons you explained, must hit 4th to at least start the season. If Luke gets on a Torrid spell again, then throw him in there. Also think Weiters, if he has a solid spring, should hit 5th, based on his projected .300 type average and switch hitting w ever gaining power. Allowing Reimold to slot nicely in 6th hole. Then lefty w Scott then righty w Atkins, then Izturis. Boomshalackaboom in a word, or in another: BALANCE. All the way down the order. GO O's, get them 75 WINS!

Tejada historically doesn't hit well until the weather gets warm. Judging by all the snow still sitting outside my window, that may not be until August this year.

Jones has the most ML experience of the Baby Birds, so I'd likely start with him in that slot behind Markakis and Tejada.

I'd bat Atkins/Scott 5th depending on who is starting then Weiters, Atkins/Scott, Reimold and Iturus.

The Orioles can't "baby" Weiters and Adams forever. Weiters is the natural clean up hitter the organization has craved for the past ten years. Addams shows to much promise as power hitter to bat second. Also, batting Markakis in clean-up simply marginalizes him.

Here's the optimal lineup:

Roberts 2b
Reimold rf
Markakis lf
Weiters c
Adams cf
Tejada 3b
Scott DH
Atkins 1b
ss

Short term, Tejada is the answer. He, along with Luke Scott, are the 2 that won't have to change their mental approach to hitting. And like you said, he's been there before so it mess with his head. Downside is the DP, however, it doesn't seem like leading the league in GIDP phases the guy and that's important. If he gets off to a slow start, he won't worry.

Who should bat clean up for the 2010 Orioles? Mark Teixeira, that's who. Now that would be a line-up to get excited about.

I think Matt Wieters is good consideration. He will have Mark in the third spot and Jones in the Fifth spot. He will see lots of good pitches and you wont be able to pitch around him. I also like the fact that Matt is switch hitter.

If you have to pick a clean up hitter, you've got to go with REIMOLD. The manager has to be smart about this:
1)Roberts,2)Jones,3)Tejada,
4)Reimold,5)Weiters,
6)Markakis,7)Atkins,
8)Pie/Scott,9)Izturis

mig,. tequdaand alternate luke scott also atkins ., you can mix up the line-up to upset oppesing pitchers.

The Orioles will rotate the number 4 hitter by committee throughout the season. They find themselves{without a legitimate #4 hitter}in this situation because Andy Macphail did not fill a gaping hole in the offseason....the big right handed bat and/or the acquisition of a legitimate cleanup hitter.

Obviously, "the time was not right" to spend the money.

The lineup on opening day is:
Roberts
Markakis
Jones
Tejada
Scott
Wieters
Atkins
Reimold
Izturis

Dan, are you worried about the cost of the substitute bartender in salary or in the liquor if he doesn't water down the drinks the way you do? No wonder you sell more beer than mixed drinks.

It's too soon to tell who would be my everyday cleanup hitter, that's what we need ST to find out. If Atkins can hit like he did in 2005-06, sure he's a candidate. I'd rather not count on that, though. In my imaginary lineups I have Markakis at 2, Tejada 3, Scott 4 (with Jones at 5). If it's a tough lefty I drop Markakis and Tejada down one, put Jones at 2, move the other guys up, and put Wigginton at 8 with Scott getting the day off.

Later in the season, it depends on who is doing what. I can see Tejada anywhere from 2 to 7, Reimold from 3 to 7, Scott from 4 to 7, Atkins from 4-8. I wouldn't put Markakis anywhere but 2 or 3, and prefer him at 2. The only certainty is that Roberts bats leadoff whenever he plays. When he gets the day off I'd like for Pie to have shown that he can handle that spot, but barring injury that won't be more than a handful of games this year.

What I'd like to see by June, based on the younger guys earning it through performance, is:
Roberts - S
Markakis - L
Reimold - R
Wieters - S
Jones - R
Scott - L
Tejada - R
Atkins - R
Izturis - S

Any way you slice it, the Orioles have the potential to have a pretty good lineup if the youngsters continue to develop, particularly if Atkins comes back to being pretty good, let alone very good. I am excited about the potential for this year!

I don't like Tejada in the 4 spot. I think if Weiters comes out with some pop in Spring Training and early in the season he should be the guy. We need someone in the middle of the lineup who is a presence and who will intimidate pitchers. Tejada is a great hitter, but warning track power doesn't strike fear in opposing teams. Even if Wieters only hits 20-25 homeruns, he is a big guy that I think pitchers will not want to face with a man on. Put Tejada somewhere that is a better fit for a doubles hitter. Maybe bat him 2nd. Let Roberts get on, hit and run, steal or whatever and maybe that will negate Tejadas double plays some.

I will eventually be Weiters but good knows the O's have to baby their young players so he won't get there unitl the all-star break if we're lucky.

Roberts is leadoff, of course. Judging by his splits last year Jones is at 2. Nick is 3 and now the hard part. I think Atkins/Scott bat 4th depending on the pitcher. Tejada at 5 with a chance to drive in runs. Weiters/Reinmold 6 and 7, scott or Atkins at 8 and ss at 9. This spreads out the R/L bats and puts the Scott/Atkins duo at 4 and 8 against a R/H pitcher. I like Tejada at 5, not 4, he will get good pitches in front of Weiters/Reinmold and he knows how to handle good pitches. He will also help whoever bats 4th by getting them better pitches.

Tex should be hitting fourth in the O's line-up................Oh that's right , they wouldn't offer him enough money to play here and believe me , he would have come here for the right amount,,,,,,,,,anyone can change their tune for the right amount of money..................the O's lineup doesn't look like it can compete with the Yankees and Bosox again does it ? When are the O's going to spend real money for real talent ? Until then you have to play mind game to find a clean-up hitter , Peter the Great must be proud...............

Tejada should bat second--Roberts winds up on second so often that batting behind Roberts will diminish Tejada's propensity for GIDP somewhat. Two doubles machines at the top of the order could mean a lot of games that start with a run before the O's have recorded a single out.

Why not give Reimold a shot at the cleanup spot? He seemed pretty unflappable for a rookie last year, and he's got the power.

Roberts
Tejada
Markakis
Reimold
Weiters
Jones
Scott
Atkins
Izturis

Alternately, flip Jones and Tejada in the lineup above. Jones did well in the 2 spot last year, and it makes sense to bat him higher to maximize his number of ABs.

If I'm the O's manager, I'm using Atkins in the cleanup spot against lefthanders with Luke Scott batting 6th. Against a righthander, they swap places. Easy one.

I'm leaning to Adam Jones as our clean-up hitter . He has a good average and has shown that he has enough power to hit many home runs . I'm sure as he matures he'll be able to handle the stress of playing every day and overcome injuries .

1) Roberts - a doubles machine
2) Tejada - another doubles machine
3) Markakis - a natural #3
4) Jones - thrives under pressure
5) Scott - HR pop - left/right mix
6) Reimold - same HR pop as Jones
7) Weiters - your eventual #4
8) Atkins - unless his bat returns
9) Izturis - forever at #9

Roberts
Jones
Markakis
Tejada
Weiters
Atkins
Scott
Reimold
Izturis

I like Dennis's lineup. But here's an alternative:

Roberts - S
Jones - R
Markakis - L
Reimold - R
Scott - L
Tejada - R
Wieters - S
Atkins - R
Izturis - S

Atkins and Reimold could be flipped depending on who's hot. Honestly, I think this is a pretty good collection of players no matter how you arrange it. The O's were 11th in the AL last season in runs scored (741) and I think they will improve a few spots this season - and once you get close to the 800 runs mark, you are talking about some pretty good teams - TB, the Twins, and even the Red Sox.

I think people are a little too quick to want to anoint Reimold to a cleanup position, after less than a year in the majors. Go with the experience and Miggy in the cleanup spot.

1. Roberts
2. Markakis
3. Weiters
4. Tejada
5. Jones
6. Reimold
7. Atkins
8. Scott
9. Izturis

A lot of posters have this obsession with making Weiters the cleanup hitter. I just did a "high level" historical search and interestingly, most of the greatest catchers did not hit 4th. Catchers typically hit 5th through 7th. Johnny Bench and Gary Carter were the only ones that I found that consistently hit 4th. Mickey Cochrane actually hit 3rd, but baseball was quite different then. They also tended to be the best power hitters on the team. Some notables that didn't hit 4th were Roy Campanella, Thurman Munson, Carlton Fisk and Earl Battey. It appears that teams want catchers to rest a lot between innings to be better prepared to command the defensive part of the game.

Having said that, Weiters is no where near ready to take on that kind of responsibility. He is going to be a good solid RBI man. However, a major problem with the Orioles is a "thrown together" pitching staff. That young man will have his hands full managing that asset.

1. Roberts
2. Jones
3. Markakis
4. Tejada
5. Weiters
6. Atkins
7. Scott
8. Reimold
9. Izturis

Interesting, you can look it up, but Tejada, Markakis and Jones all had similar OBP and SLG last year. Jones had lowest avg, .270, Mark at .293 and Tejada .313. What does that tell you? Tejada has more singles and Jones has a higher percentage of extra base hits. Ideally, Jones has great numbers for a #5 hitter. Tejada's numbers are probably best at #2, especially if he can hit behind the runner. There isn't a #4 hitter, nobody with that .500+ SLG. So, I'd say, if Weiters is projected to ultimately go there, put him there now between Markakis and Jones at 5. Two pretty good hitters to be between.

Dan, Tejada is the choice by default going into the year. Markakis failed at number 4 last year. Jones and Reimold are too young. Weiters needs a little time to develop before he's ready but given his rate of improvement last season I predict he will finish this year in the 4 hole. I also predict Atkins will be a total failure and end the year on the bench.

Finally, the team needs to trade Scott. He is way too streaky a hitter to be dependable (last years bad streak lasted three months!) and he's taking a roster spot from Montenez, who has the potential to be a better hitter and the team needa another right handed bat.

1 Roberts
2 Jones
3 Markakis
4 Tejada
5 Wieters
6 Scott
7 Atkins
8 Reimold/Pie
9 Izturis

Well i've heard it all but the 1 I want to hear
1. JONES
2 IZTURIS (HERE HE IS NOT WASTED)
3 ROBERTS
4 MARKAKIS
5 WEITERS
6 REIMOLD
7 SCOTT
8 ATKINS
9 TEJADA
R,TO GET ON BASE SO WHY NOT BAT 3RDOBERTS REFUSES TO BUNT

Tejada should bat 4th. The man was 2nd in the NL in hits last year and missed out on tops by 4 hits. He also batted over .300. So what if he doesn't hit a ton of homeruns- if he's hitting singles and doubles, he's still moving runners over or driving them in. If Jones bats 2nd, you have 2 speedsters at the top of the lineup in Roberts and Jones, and Markakis has decent speed, so they'd all still be able to score on a double, maybe even a single.

My second choice would be for Jones to bat cleanup. He's a decent hitter, learns from his mistakes, and doesn't seem to get frustrated easily. He's started for 2 years now, so he has lots of experience under his belt.

Markakis doesn't seem to handle the #4 slot too well, so he's out. I think Reimold and Wieters each need another year under their belts before even considering them, so they're out. I also think that Scott is too streaky to bat cleanup, and Atkins shouldn't be considered unless he happens to return to form during spring training.

Reimold is the cleanup hitter. End of story.

However, based on Trembley's track record, I'm sure we'll see a struggle veteran like Atkins or Tejada clog the 4 hole for most of the season.

I don't like Tejada in the top 4. Partially due to the GDP and lower HR totals. But also because of who the other hitters are.

1. Roberts
2. Markakis - better #2 than #3 numbers
3. Jones - free swinging approach so better with protection behind him
4. Reimold - plate discipline and power
Weiters - plate discipline and power
Tejada - still has BA and is a run producers.
Scott - Can be moved up with streakiness.
Atkins - Whatever he provides is bonus, but should be a close match with what Huff gave us last year.
Itzuris

The O's were in the middle of the pack in scoring last year among all teams. But that also puts them last in the AL East. We need to pick up another 50-100 runs to be competitive. I think a maturing Weiters and replacing Mora with Tejada can get us another 50+. That should put us in the top 10. And it still might be last in the AL East (if Toronto can repeat, which I doubt).

http://espn.go.com/mlb/standings/_/group/9/sort/pointsFor/order/true

Um how about that guy that Andy MacPhail was supposed to get. You know, one of his top priorities of the offseason.

Wait, he didn't get a #4 hitter?

Given the pieces currently assembled, I'd go with Markakis, putting Tejada 3rd. Markakis has some experience there, and would benefit from more experience there as he might be #4 in 2011 as well. Whereas who know where Tejada will be then and we'll be answering this same question again next spring.

As some have posted, Miggy T bats 4th from April 1 - June or July. Then # 15 takes over for the next 15 years....

Curious to see who guest bartends. If it's Childs, I'll need to wear my argyle sweaters. If it's Cowherd, you can forget about any profit margin for the month of February. If its Reimer, I'm outta here.....

The Orioles dont have a Cleanup Hitter and haven't had one for a number of years.

Please direct all questions to Andy MacPhai.

I think we have a good #4 in Matt Wieters. This lineup should be good from day one. You have speed though out, decent power at 2,3,4,5,6,7,8 and most important there isn't an easy out.
1.B Roberts-S
2.M Tejada-R
3.N Markakis-L
4.M Wieters-S
5.N Reimold-R
6.A Jones-R
7.L Scott-L
8.G Atkins-R
9.Izturis-S

This lineup could have my brother's(Wild Bill)ghost come and lead cheers for us.

Unless Wieters or Reimold gets really hot in spring training, I think Trembley's really got to put Tejada in that slot for the first month or two. A lot of fans here seem to have a lot more faith in Luke Scott than his actual performance warrants. Unless he's on one his patented hot streaks, he's a #7 or 8 hitter with this roster.

Based on career statistics and ideal stats for each batting position, here's my lineup:

Leadoff - Highest OBP & Speed (B-Rob)
Second - Highest AVG & Left Handed (Kakis)
Third - Best Contact & Power Balance (Remi)
Fourth - Best Power (Scott or Wheat)
Fifth - 2nd Best Power & Higher Contact (Scott or Wheat)
Sixth - 2nd Highest OBP & Speed (Jonsey)
Seventh - 2nd Hightest AVG - Double Play Ground-Outs (Tejada)
Eigth - 2nd Hightest Contact & Power Blance (Atkins)
Ninth - 2nd Fastest (Izturis)

Here's my favorite lineup for this upcoming year (yes, I'm throwing the young ones into the fire right away):

Roberts 2B
Reimold LF
Markakis RF
Jones CF
Wieters C
Tejada 3B
Scott DH
Atkins 1B
Izturis SS

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